Written by Michelle Salvatore
It’s been a week since we visited Angst Island, but don’t worry: everyone is pretty much right where we left them.
Last night’s episode of Once, the appropriately-pervy titled “Nasty Habits”, focuses on the entangled past and present of Rumpelstiltskin, Neal, and Peter Pan (Regina says a funny line about pasta but that’s it). Rumpel and his thought-dead son Neal have finally reunited in the Neverlandian jungle, and set off to save Henry from Peter Pan’s evil campfire dance party.
Meanwhile, the flashback scenes offer us Rumpel’s long history of being a party-killer. Turns out him and Peter Pan were childhood friends that had a falling out (of course), and the bitter and lonely Pan came back to kidnap a young Neal from him in revenge. Neal was a pretty easy target for parental rebellion at the time, considering one of the rules of being The Dark One’s son is “Don’t Leave The Hovel.” Rumpel even takes a page from my mother’s playbook with the “It’s not you I don’t trust, it’s everybody else” line. Parents just don’t understand.
So Rumpel saved his son from Peter Pan (who’s also the Pied Piper because if the Sick-Bastard Shoe fits…) once before, but can he save his grandson from Campfire Dance Party of Doom now?
As a father-son team, Rumpel and Neal can’t get it together. At first, it looks like they might just be able to set their differences aside for Henry – they even come up with a rescue plan. Neal summons a kraken some bad CGI a giant squid, with the intention of using its ink to paralyze Pan. My biggest complaint is that we don’t actually get to see Rumpel milk(?) the squid for ink. How do you even do you even harvest ink? I would’ve been 110% okay with cutting all of Snow White’s lines if it meant seeing Robert Carlyle do that.
Regardless of this catastrophic plot hole (I’m bitter), the rescue plan works! Peter Pan is paralyzed, and father and son managed to steal-back an unconscious Henry. Did Rumpelstiltskin fail to kill Peter Pan right then because his redemption arc is closing in on its trajectory, or are the producers just really determined to save money by re-using all of this Lost set dressing for the rest of the season? ‘Tis but another magical mystery.
Unfortunately, the Stiltskins just can’t handle a good old fashioned Family Mission Accomplished and have to fight about something. Trust remains the core issue for these two, as both have a bad habit of being abandoned. Just as we see young flashback-Neal tear Rumpel a new one for not trusting that he would choose his father over Peter Pan, older dreamy-Neal then loses it when he finds out about The Prophecy.
You remember The Prophecy right? How Buffy Summers will face the Master and die Henry will be the downfall of The Dark One? Therefore Rumpel needs to murder him in order to survive? Well, even though Rumpel is all “chillaaaaax, I’m totally over this living thing anyways”, Neal is pretty upset about the whole thing. He opts to paralyze his ol’ pops with some squid jizz and abandons him in the forest – just to be safe. Then Pan shows up and steals-back-back Henry from Neal before the boy even wakes up.
Overall, this whole adventure is a huge waste of time and everybody pretty much starts right back where they started. Except Henry, who starts to embrace the Lost Boy life, and Rumpel smeared some…something? on his face this week. I can only assume for the same reason as Kathy Bates.
Things aren’t much more productive over on the other side of the island. The Charming family et al. is searching a cave for any clues that Neal may have left behind when he was a Lost Boy as to how to get the hell off the island. Eventually they find the answer, but it’s encrypted by a secret code. Because screw you, that’s why.
I think this episode is trying to set up some more romantic chemistry between Emma and Hook for their kiss next week – but this couple just isn’t working, you guys. Let it go. The most intimate thing they said to each other was when Hook reminded everyone that he used to shack up with Neal(Emma’s babydaddy)’s mom.
Charming and Hook on the other hand…
I don’t have much else to say about this week since “Nasty Habits” reads mainly as a set-up for things to come. I’m counting on those things to start happening soon though, because I’m over this #SaveHenry garbage. In fact…
Reasons to Just #LeaveHenry
1) He seems happy at Peter Pan’s camp now, and finally has friends his own age
2) He’s annoying and repetitive
3) Regina and Emma wouldn’t have to fight over him anymore
4) Robin Hood’s kid is a cuter replacement anyways
Okay, I guess that’s a bit of a hard sell. Can we at least tone down how creepy Peter Pan and his Lost Boys are? There’s enough boy-collecting going on in Neverland right now to trigger Macaulay Culkin’s PTSD. And now Marilyn Manson has been cast to play Pan’s shadow because whatever, I don’t need to sleep.
Until next week!